“I’ve been sortin’ through a lot of shit that’s in my head now/A lot of shit that had me scared now…”

I have never been loved the way that I needed to be. My perception might have been skewed by watching too many Bollywood films when growing up in India. These movies always portrayed women playing hard to get and the gorgeous men who chased these women in song, down the street, in a parade of some sort or on a very cold mountain, with nobody around, and sometimes even through a back-in-time lapse, the if I loved you in a different lifetime cliché being played out.

So I played hard to get. I assumed a horde of men would chase me. I would pick one out of many to be my forever prince. My expectations were clear in that, we would fall in love, and he would take care of me for the rest of his life and we would be happy staring at each other for the rest of our lives.

I still remember how it all begin, I was 12 years old, and he was my first crush. We met at a summer camp and we were paired together in a group. Our group had to perform a skit. I don’t remember what we had to perform, and how long I had known him for, all I knew was that he had beautiful dark eyes, soft brown hair that rolled off his head, curls that were meant to flow down his tanned forehead. I remember his smile, his sense of humor, how he made me smile and laugh. I remember his eyes and how they looked at me. They scared me. And so I played hard to get.

I never saw him again.

Until. Years later we met again. Again after multiple prank-calls to his house, just to hear his voice. We met again in French tuitions. I saw a dark shadow, he was blocked by the rays of the sun that shone through a window he was sitting against. And then he smiled, and I recognized that beautiful smile that portrayed an aura of kindness and mystery, the sun-rays looked like a halo sitting on top of his head. There he was, my forever prince. So I thought.

I admired him while he spoke to others. I admired him while he answered questions in class. I admired him even after finding out he was dating one of my best friends. I admired him while I played hard to get, waiting for him to chase me. Patiently waiting for him to woo me.

Even after I moved to a different country, he did not reach out to me, nor did he try. This was the first time I felt heartbreak. I knew that I could not be heartbroken from someone who never knew that I loved him. But yet, I was broken and nobody could change my mind.

Over the years, living so far away from each other, we began to chat on Facebook. I still never told him how I felt. Over the years, I have loved so many more boys. Boys who chased me. Boys who got to be with me because they played the game, chased and wooed me, but none of them made me feel like they were my forever prince. I guess, nobody I met lived up to my expectations of love which were built after meeting my first crush. I needed a man who was funny, charming, beautiful, loving, and kind.

Until. I met the love of my life a few years ago. Of course I did not know he was the love of my life at the time. He showed me love in a way that I never understood. I played hard to get, and so did he, all while he chased me. He made me laugh in a way that was insightful, he made me get to know a side of me that I never thought existed. I learn so much about myself everyday because of this beautiful human. He makes me believe that love is more than a crush and our expectations for love. Love is patient, and love is kind. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. I want to believe what he makes me believe, that love is all of these things.

Although my first crush’s unrequited love was one of the most painful experiences of love, I still don’t know if it was unrequited. Even though over the years, I have had many broken hearts, none of that pain could surmise to what I felt, when I moved to a different country, leaving my first crush behind. And all of these painful experiences were washed away in just one instance, on my first date with the love of my life. I knew that he would hold my heart, and hold onto it for a very long time. Protect it, trust it, and hold me close enough to make me believe that love is possible, if we let it in.

As I embark on my writing journey, I’m beginning to understand that I love writing about love. I love, love. Loving is one of my biggest strengths and one of my biggest weaknesses. I look forward to exploring it, in writing and in life.

“I’m an alien, I’m a legal alien.” I write. Poetry is life. I host a podcast. I’m constantly healing. Above all, I’m kind to mankind.